How I Cracked PMP With Above Target & 40 Minutes To Spare – by Sergey Maltsev, PMP

how to crack pmp exam above target scores, shares target sergeySergey Maltsev is from St. Petersburg in Russia.

A few days ago he passed (actually crushed!) his PMP exam.

And as we chatted about his exam experience, I was impressed with how he managed his studies juggling multiple responsibilities, and still managed to give time to family.

The best part was, he chose to give himself enough time to internalize all the material that is there to study. At the same time, he didn’t keep it open-ended to let it drift when higher priority things cropped up.

That’s a smart approach.

Sergey has extensive experience in managing complex predictive, adaptive, and hybrid life-cycle projects in FinTech solutions to enterprise clients. As a pre-doc researcher, he has published more than 10 articles (including papers indexed by IEEE, Scopus).

Sergey aced the exam with all 3 Above Target scores, taking both the breaks offered in the exam, and submitting the exam a whopping 40 minutes ahead of time.

His approach is a great example of ‘reaching fast by going slow’.

Today he shares how he did it.

What made you take up PMP? Did you consider any other certification exams?

above target score in pmp sergey maltsevI was planning to get my PMP certificate for a while, had no time due to family reasons. With 3 kids, 2 cats, and a lot of routine things to do at home, taking time for study was a challenge.

During my study, I got so much useful information which I didn’t know earlier. PMP gives a crucial understanding of what is it like being Project Manager. I realized that so many of us manage projects on a daily basis without understanding many of the important aspects.

I got my PSMI certificate in 2018. Since then I have considered taking up PRINCE2 but realized that in terms of alignment with the latest project management practices, PMP might be better.

Now that I am PMP certified, I am considering getting more Agile-specific certifications like CSM or PSMII/PSMIII. Later I want to go with PgMP. As I worked and am currently part of PMO I am really interested in managing programs and later, maybe portfolios.

PMP is a golden standard for those who want to be true project management professionals.

According to you, what is the one thing that is needed to pass PMP?

Not one, I think there are 3 things that help together in the preparation for this exam.

  1. A clear understanding of “WHY” you are doing it and keeping it in mind until you reach your goal
  2. Plan and pace – as a PM, one should have a plan and follow it. Proper planning is the key, then sticking to this plan as much as possible, and
  3. Dedication – one should focus on reaching this PMP goal – all the time

Also read:

pmp cert sergey

Sergey Maltsev scored all 3 Above Target scores in his PMP, taking 2 breaks, and with 40 minutes to spare!

Which study resources did you use for your exam preparation, and how did they help?

I used multiple resources. I can say that all of them gave me some or other useful insights – not only for passing PMP, but in general to be a better project manager.

Here they are –

That’s interesting that you mentioned PMBOK-7. How did it help for the exam?

I can say that PMBOK-7 brings about a big change in the overall PMP mindset.

The new version tries to look at everything from a new angle: as an umbrella for both traditional and agile approaches. It comprises many high-level overviews and consolidates very promising content.

However, PMBOK-7 did not help me much in my exam preparation.

What was your approach and study plan?

I read thoroughly PMBOK 6th and 7th version, followed by Rita PMP Exam Prep book first.

Then I took the Udemy course. I was not hurrying up, I wanted to understand all the concepts carefully.

Then at the beginning of August, I set a goal to pass my exam before the end of the year.

Starting from that moment I reread Rita’s book and took over 2000 PrepCast test questions to get a realistic exam experience.

Did you face any issues along the way?

My main issue was striking a balance between family and study.

As I have 3 kids and many daily routines – that was a very big challenge to find a time slot dedicated to my study.

I woke up at 5 am during weekdays, studying for 2 hours in the morning. Then in the evening, I would spend an hour studying. Weekends were dedicated primarily to family, and I would study for an hour in the evenings only.

The week before the exam is crucial. How did you spend this week?

I spent the last week reviewing my notes and watching YouTube videos.

The day before the exam I made it a point to relax, with a light revision, trying to concentrate on my success.

How was your exam experience?

I opted to take the exam at the Testing Center, as I did not want to have risks while certifying at home.

Reached the center an hour earlier. They followed the standard procedure at the testing center, no issues there, just followed what the exam administrator told me.

I opted for both the breaks and strongly suggest everyone take them. It is important for refreshing your mind and concentration.

My first 10 questions were hard, and I thought that won’t pass my exam. But then the questions became easier and clearer.

After 60 questions, I realized that I have a lot of buffer time. I reviewed 5 marked questions and closed the first part of the exam.

The second and third parts were easier for me as I understood how things work.

My exam was 80% Hybrid + Agile. There were not many calculation-based questions (just 2 easy questions). So you should understand the mindset of the servant leader, as there were many questions on this topic.

I passed my exam with all 3 Above Target scores with 40 mins left.

Master PMP concepts using the series ‘Ace Your PMP Exam’ on Amazon – 12 books of pure, filtered, simplified concepts to learn in a brain-friendly way, so you can answer any question on the exam.

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Would you like to share any specific study tips, advice, techniques, or strategies for those preparing for their PMP exam?

I have just 3 insights to share, and I consider these to be the most important ones for succeeding with the PMP exam.

  • While reading the question, keep in mind the mindset of the project manager. For agile projects, it is that of a servant leader. For the normal project, it is achieving project objectives while managing project constraints.
  • Just remember – the exam is not so hard, you just need dedication. Believe me, when you start studying, you will then like the process. It is because you will then get the needed level of understanding.
  • Please do not try to memorize things (it’s a myth), try to understand them instead.

All the best!

Sergey Maltsev, PMP

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